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on Feb 20, 2013
I was gratified by the thoughtful approach of the City Council to this appeal. They clearly listened, heard the neighbors, and honored their commitment to the community.
The council exercised their role in balancing the rights of owners to develop and the interest of the community in maintaining the landscape that defines the character of the community.
But the process that the developer had to go through for tree removal, with separate processes to the Planning Commission and the Environmental Quality Commission, evaluating different trees affected by the development, is convoluted and unfair. It is also unfair to community members concerned about the canopy who need to attend multiple commissions.
The Environmental Quality Commission has recommended streamlining the process. There is a project to update the Heritage Tree Ordinance to streamline the process, which is in the Capital Improvement Plan for Council to review. I hope that Council moves this project forward, so the city can continue to maintain our heritage trees in a way that is less onerous for property-owners and community members.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Environmental Quality Commission, speaking here as an individual.
This council seems to have more sense than the previous one which spent $7,500 of city money to design an alternative for Kim LeMieux's project a couple years ago.
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